Orthodontics: Aligner therapy or conventional braces?
The adage, “Success is a journey, not a destination” may apply to some ideologies, but orthodontic success is not one of them. Reaching the destination of a straight smile and meeting your patient’s expectations is the success, which heavily depends on the journey the dental provider and patient choose. Dr. Iman Sadri talks about the factors that are critical to completing a successful orthodontic case and choosing between aligners or conventional wire and brackets.
No. 1: Compliance— Based on your overall assessment, will your patients be compliant to wear aligners 23 out of 24 hours per day? Will they be consistent in picking up the aligners from your office once every three to six weeks depending on the system? Will they return to the office if a bracket or engager falls off their tooth? Will they remember to wear the aligner set after eating a small snack? If they are wearing conventional braces, will they return to the office once per month to tighten the wires and change the bands?
No. 2: Periodontal and enamel health — Will your patients’ enamel and periodontal health have deleterious side affects if they wear conventional brackets? Will they be at high risk for demineralization of enamel and/or periodontitis? Will they be better off wearing aligners to decrease a potential oral health risk that could come with two or more years of braces?
No. 3: Retention— Will your patients be willing to wear retainers after wearing aligners, or will retainers be too bulky for what they have been accustomed to? If patients have worn braces for two or more years, will they be willing to wear lingual bar retainers, if that is the recommended course of action, or will they want to liberate their teeth?
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Achieving a desired outcome that fulfills both the treatment plan of the dental provider and your patients’ expectations is the ultimate success in orthodontic therapy. Choosing the journey of aligner therapy or conventional wires and brackets is one of the most essential factors that determine this result. With orthodontics, success is the destination made possible by the most befitting journey.
Iman Sadri, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist and writer. He is a 2008 graduate of the NYU College of Dentistry and maintains a private practice in Orange County, Calif. Contact him by email at email@example.com.